A Street in Quito by Allan Harris
To follow up on the introduction to the concept of sister cities and the Chinese city of Chongqing provided to you in one of the previous articles, let’s take a closer look at one of the Friendship cities of Toronto, Quito (Ecuador).
Unlike Partner cities (a category aiming mainly at economic cooperation), partnerships with Friendship cities focus especially on the enhancement of cultural relations and fostering human and educational exchanges between the cities. To form the link, there must always be a strong will of the community or non-governmental organizations to support the Friendship cities program. In other words, there must always be someone keen on organizing and co-funding events and acting as an umbrella organization for all the activities. For example, citizens of Toronto had an opportunity to visit an Ecuadorian Art Exhibit in Toronto City Hall last month — an activity hosted by the Association of Ecuadorians in Ontario.
Quito Historical Centre at Night
by Marcio Ramalho
The Friendship City Agreement with Quito was established in 2006. Located on the slopes of an active volcano, Pichincha in the Andes, Quito is the second highest capital worldwide (the first is La Paz). Its main square, Plaza de La Independencia or Plaza Grande, is situated an unbelievable 2800 metres above sea level. The city, often nicknamed ‘Light of America’ or ‘God’s Face’ comprises a population of about 1,400,000 inhabitants and welcomes many tourists.
Quito is a paradise for tourists and travellers. Together with Krakow, it became the first city to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1978. Its wonderfully preserved historical centre contains more than 180 historical sites and points of interests. Its unique colonial architecture and mix of all imaginable styles create a whole new dimension of urban space. After being neglected in the past, the city core has almost recovered to its old magnificence, thanks to the support of various NGO initiatives.
Baroque Church in Quito
by Allan Harris
At least some of the numerous cathedrals and churches in the centre are a must-see for all visitors. Whether you decide to go to the neo-gothic Basilica del Voto Nacional, the Metropolitan Cathedral (largely serving as a spiritual symbol of the local Catholic community), or the huge Church of San Francisco, you certainly won’t regret your visit. When you’re done sightseeing, you can chill out in one of the city parks or grab lunch at one of local stalls (only for the more adventurous or vaccinated!). If you decide to get a better view of the city, there is a great option of taking an aerial tramway, known as Telefériqo, to the side of the Pichincha volcano at 4100 meters above sea level to take in a truly spectacular view of the city.